Are Singles Too Spoiled?


Mister Rad

By now, many of you may have heard the phrase “First World Problems,” or seen the commercial that utilizes it. This ad for clean water had a lot of impact on me and prompted me to complain a lot less about things in my life that others don’t have.

I got to thinking about this idea of the “First World Problems” and how that could apply to our relationships. Of course, the search to find love is absolutely universal. Seeking out love in any area—familial, romantic, religious or from friends—is essential to help us face the hardships of life. While those hardships differ greatly—from lack of wifi to a lack of clean, running water—the hardship that results from lack of love is probably the hardest to bear.

So the search for love is most definitely not a “First World Problem,” but I think our First World approach to our search most definitely is. We seem to find a plethora of perceived faults in our potential matches that keep us in constant search mode. The idea of not settling “for less” is arbitrary, and sometimes we get caught up in one idea or another of what “less” is.

We feel that we are not able to find the one person that fits all of our criteria, but we don’t always think about the problems within that criteria. Certainly it is important to have standards and stick to them. Having the same value system and faith foundation is a great place to start. But there is a difference between having moral convictions and bending on preferences. I think here is where our possible “first world problem” lies.

I’ve spoken before about living in acknowledgement of the abundance of gifts we receive from God. Many of us are already aware of His abundant gifts and blessings we have. Maybe we write our gratitude list. Maybe we say Grace. We give thanks in every prayer we recite. But if we feel there aren’t enough people we would choose to date, doesn’t that separate one part of our life from the rest?

Certainly, this abundance idea is not exclusive to our “first world,”  but what is contradictory is the mind set of scarcity within our abundant lives. We have so much more than so many other people who are less fortunate. Why do we believe we don’t have enough?

What I’m wondering is if the scarcity mentality comes from the abundance itself. In other words, once a person has too many choices, the weeding out of those choices becomes too particular, too specific, and sometimes, too choosy. If the options are endless, we won’t settle for one because we believe there’s always something better to choose from. It is that endless search for something better that leads us to believe there’s not enough.

When we have countless items—types of cereal, TV channels, apps on our phones—we start getting more and more exclusive in our choices. Some of these developments are good, but other choices are completely arbitrary and meaningless.

I think we suffer from the same situation while looking for a mate. We have too many choices and yet, not enough. We start concentrating on things that ultimately don’t matter. Who cares if he doesn’t have a six figure job? Why should it matter if she didn’t go to college? A credit score is a deal breaker? A smoker is out of the question?

Back when our choices were simpler, we went by a few criteria: maybe faith, family, physical health, age, location, and finances. That was it. People ate cereal. People got married. People stayed married. They didn’t seem to worry about the things we make our choices based on. They didn’t have “deal breakers.”

I think there are many indicators that we are a First World country with First World Problems, but I think dating is a very big one. If we are marriage minded—and it seems we are if we joined CatholicMatch—we need to get out of our First World mentality. It certainly doesn’t reflect the life of Christ, or the life we should lead as Catholics.






17 Comments

  1. Christine-960631 September 6, 2013 Reply

    This is the truth unveiled! I wish there was a way to post this in the Forum in the Single living section!!!

  2. Rachel-731570 September 6, 2013 Reply

    I agree that many people put way too many ‘essential qualities for a match’ on their list and that it makes them dissatisfied in those available to them. Some think they can look for the perfect spouse without trying to be the perfect spouse for the other — the emphasis is on getting everything they want without any compromise. One cannot have the idea that a perfect match meeting all those specifications is just waiting to fill the ‘order’ like in a restaurant.
    But I think the smoker – nonsmoker issue is more important than implied above. It is totally a dealbreaker for me, but many other things aren’t, like education, income, looks, height, occupation, etc.

  3. Sherrill-anne-13557 September 6, 2013 Reply

    Food for thought.Very often I’ve seen things that are petty as deal breakers .People often have so many do’s and don’t on their list that they are missing out.
    I have to agree with Rachel when it comes to health concerns like smoking though.I come from a family with asthma,I have sinus problems and my late husband died from cancer(as well as a friend that lost his battle with lung cancer) both situations exacerbated not from smoking but from second and third hand smoke.
    God have us here for a reason.Don’t waste the opportunities.

  4. Alma-953915 September 6, 2013 Reply

    I agree with you both, Rachel and Sherrill-Anne.
    I used to actually care about a person’s education, but now I no longer do. I don’t care if that person went to college or not, even though I have a college degree. What I’m looking for is someone I’ll actually get along with, but who will help me grow in Christ, as I would like to in return. The problem I’ve been having is personality match lately. As for looks, I just want to be attracted to his warm smile. I’m not looking for someone with a buff athletic body. I’m looking at that person’s morals and values, how they treat me and other women, and if that person will either lead me to a path of sin or to God.

  5. Cynthia-988173 September 6, 2013 Reply

    I agree with the above comments – smoking IS a deal-breaker for me. I can’t even sit next to someone in mass who smells of smoke because I’ll have problems breathing by the end, so I could never live with a smoker.

    Education is also kind of a deal-breaker for me. As someone getting both a Ph.D. and a Masters (terminal degrees in both fields), I think dating or marrying someone who doesn’t have at least a Bachelors would be frustrating. For me, it shows an eagerness to learn and then they would have some understanding of how important and stressful these degrees are for me. I realize I’m a smart girl and that scares a lot of guys. I don’t want to start a relationship with tension over a big difference in education.

  6. Linda-442926 September 6, 2013 Reply

    I also agree with Rachel and Sherill-Anne on the smoker issue being more important than implied in the article. It’s contradictory at the end of one paragraph to discount smoking as a deal breaker and then begin the next paragraph with a “few criteria” that include family and physical health, both of which are directly and seriously affected by smoking, but say those weren’t considered as “deal breakers” or things we’re now guilty of making our choices based on.

    I also have asthma and have known too many people negatively and seriously affected health-wise by smoking/smokers. The general public, thanks to medical studies, now know far more about the harmful affects of such things than past generations. So if it wasn’t considered a deal breaker before, it certainly shouldn’t be held against someone for considering it a deal breaker now.

    If we are marriage minded, as is phrased above, then we should be seeking a healthy marriage and family in every sense of the word; and it absolutely DOES REFLECT THE LIFE OF CHRIST to be genuinely concerned for the well being of the people around us, especially those we love most!

  7. Lisa-801067 September 6, 2013 Reply

    This is an interesting one. And so lately i wonder about my deal breakers. I have to have the sevnr questions answered yes well hope to more actually. And i thought it would be the best thing to do and that i had to be with the man who most closest follows church teachings. It makes sense, you follow, he follows, your kids will have a good role model to follow. You follow, he’s catholic but it’s not a mortal sin to miss mass and ok to believe in astrology what will that do to your example to your children. They will think mom’s a fanatic and not to take her religious side seriously. :P And then there is the question of how many of the teachings he has to follow, he reads the bible, goes to mass and is very involved in the community BUT Mary is not a perpetual virgin, There are so many things to get caught up on, but there are so many things that are important. Doctrine is my check list for compatibility. Am i doing it wrong? Personality counts too but i fell in love with people before with bad doctrine, but i am looking at where the problems will be in living out a catholic family life, so am i being to sterile?

  8. Erin-997783 September 6, 2013 Reply

    I completely agree with Rachel. My ex boyfriend of 5 years was like that..(“Some think they can look for the perfect spouse without trying to be the perfect spouse for the other — the emphasis is on getting everything they want without any compromise. One cannot have the idea that a perfect match meeting all those specifications is just waiting to fill the ‘order’ like in a restaurant.)

    God knows how hard I tried to make him happy and show effort and compromise…but it was only on MY end. And him?? HE did not reciprocate, and this was after he proposed to me! He actually slid backwards, emotionally, etc. and I resented him for it immensely. I was hurt beyond belief, and started setting physical boundaries since I felt he just didn’t care about me anymore. I had given so much of myself and yet I still wasn’t good enough for him. Sure enough, since he wasn’t getting what he wanted (while putting in NO work/effort the relationship), it disintegrated and it was clear by his actions that he didn’t love me anymore. He chose to leave and there went my last 5 years of my 20′s.

    I am unbreakable now and have learned that I deserve to have someone with consistency, a plan, and actually commits to me with actions to back it up.

  9. Suzanne-818266 September 7, 2013 Reply

    I agree with Rachel about smoking being a deal breaker (though I might consider a light smoker who has the sincere desire to quit) because it’s so intimately tied to physical health, not only my potential partner’s but also mine and more importantly my daughter’s. Don’t you agree???

  10. John-976889 September 7, 2013 Reply

    “Who cares if he doesn’t have a six figure job? Why should it matter if she didn’t go to college? A credit score is a deal breaker? A smoker is out of the question? … etc …” Fill in the blank with the criteria that, with some reflection, you realize are obstacles or closed doors between yourself and someone who would provide the companionship you need. The author encourages a closer, more honest look at our motivation for setting criteria. Do we perpetuate our loneliness by expecting a “made to order” soul mate? She encourages us to be open to unexpected goodness. If you went to college, then compare your search for love to your choice of a school and major. There is no way that we could predict the good and bad experiences we would have at the university we chose to attend, or the degree we decided to pursue.

  11. Colleen-13855 September 7, 2013 Reply

    I agree with the writer wholeheartedly! Singles need to be more open and docile to the Holy Spirit working in their lives. Don’t close the doors so quickly.

  12. Debbie-514749 September 7, 2013 Reply

    I also agree with the author and the many posts here… It’s far more important to be the right person than to find him/her….
    Blessings….

  13. Bradley-266389 September 8, 2013 Reply

    Even independent of the great points this article makes, why is it that people don’t want to even make a new friend from this website, independent of possible prospects of romance? As I mention in my profile, to reduce someone to the question of “can-I-marry-them-or-not?” is to objectify that person in somewhat the same way as sexual objectification. There are so many women I have met on this site that I have made a new friend in, and I have helped them meet other friends of mine. There was this one friend whom I noticed really liked cutting coupons, and all things Disney, and I Facebook-introduced her to another friend I went to college with. I cannot help but be somewhat disappointed that the same courtesy has not been extended to me–women I write to in a civil manner, respecting boundaries, and being Christlike to actually do not respond, or even write “Thanks, but no thanks.” “No thanks” to what….friendship? Now, as St. Francis prayed, “Grant that I may not love so much as to be loved”, yes, so my being a good brother in Christ to all the women I meet on this site certainly isn’t contingent on reciprocation, but wow… To be honest, I have met many secular and non-religious people who know enough to not objectify in the manner I, above, describe. Please, men and women, focus on making new friends, and valuing every person as an individual…. don’t reject making a new friend.

  14. Nolan-977240 September 8, 2013 Reply

    I completely agree! I was actually going to write a blog/article saying something very similar myself. The problem I have meeting girls, is that frankly, a lot of girls my age are spoiled or stuck up. It is good to discriminate based on things such as your religious values, political veiws, etc. – Things that REALLY matter, but I am a firm believer that you should always give someone a chance and get to know them. God’s imagination is ALOT bigger than ours! Just because we don’t think we will like someone at first, how do we ever know if God brought them into our lives for a reason? (this may not apply as much to online dating, but I think the point is still valid) You never know when God was guiding things and bringing that person into your life, but if you’re going to reject someone because they don’t have the same favorite food or like the same bands as you, that is immature and not very Christian, and says a lot more about what kind of person you are than it says about them. People are spoiled, and I mean it’s not just girls, I’m sure it’s plenty of guys too, but I have definitely experience this with plenty of girls, and I think it tends to be women more by virtue of the fact that they grow up their whole lives planning this magical wedding to this night in shinning armour, and the fact is, if you’re not perfect yourself, why are expecting a guy to be in order for you to give them a chance? I think people are spoiled and we tend to hold other people to this standard of perfection that noone can ever reach without first expecting more from ourselves and sitting down, being realistic and figuring out what’s really important in a relationship.

  15. Nolan-977240 September 8, 2013 Reply

    I also agree with Bradley above, it’s sad but I try to give everyone a chance, and I have made friends when they don’t work out as a romantic interest, but it’s rare that I ever meet someone who does the same. And the truth is, I try to meet nice, church-going girls, even before I joined a dating site, and the sad thing is a lot of times those girls seem great at first, and they turn out to be the pickiest, least realistic girls I ever meet. It can be frustrating at times too, I have to fight to remind myself not to be bitter or negative when they don’t respond so kindly or charitably and realize that this is part of the way the God may be trying to challenge us to deepen our capacity to love, and it’s definitely not easy at times, especially when you treat others with kindness and they don’t reciprocate it. I think this has to start at homes with parents, and we need to teach kids that they can’t borrow the cues from the culture and all these chick-flicks about dating and relationships and expect to be happy. I think that’s part of how people become spoiled too.

  16. Bradley-266389 September 9, 2013 Reply

    Not all have been so cold. I will say that one woman decided she wasn’t romantically interested in me, but she has been my friend through 6 years and counting. I loved her immensely (still do…hard to let go), and so that has coloured our friendship. I guess both of us were willing to endure the awkwardness. For it, I am a changed man for having known her. She is now dating someone else. Given that, I could very easily claim some sort of right to be bitter, and write about how I’ve “wasted my money and time on CatholicMatch”, but how could I ever do that? I have been given a great gift in her friendship. The reality that romance is not a contractual but rather a Convenent-al relationship (as Scott Hahn writes) is far-reaching, and upsets our human notion of relationships. Do not shy away from the inherent pains of dating. They are the “good” kind of pain, which shape and strengthen us, if we rise to the challenge to not treat any human as an object. That pain will procure our sainthood.

    I am rambling, but please…I hope the message the Church has been giving to us, which I here describe, is clear!

    P.S., Maybe this is why good Catholic women seem to be attracted to men in the priesthood–it appears to them that they are committing their lives to not objectify people, and they are making a gift of their sexuality in order to gain the grace to make such a promise. Certainly, this is not a bad thing. I would like to say that I am trying to make a similar effort, and not “size women up for marriage”, but rather merely make a new friend (again, as I have written in my profile).

  17. Ann-69118 September 9, 2013 Reply

    Both genders could be shown to be spoiled I think. At times I know I am. I have a well ordered life with not a lot of down time so it’s a lot to ask for me to fit someone in it mean altering my schedule. I’m willing to do it but slowly till I trust the. I think we’ve all been burned at one time or another so it’s hard not to be a bit guarded and it’s best to go slow but alway good to give someone a chance or else you might miss out on someone really cool.

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