The Dating Strikeout


Waiting for a date

One of the most well-meaning sentiments might also seem to be of the most patronizing: “Just hang in there.” When you’re a man and you’ve struck out several times in a row in the dating world, “just hang in there” can either be a comfort or an irritant, depending on the mood you’re in when you hear it, where you are in your struggle, and who is imparting this wisdom. When you think about it, though, it really is the best advice. After all, what are your options?

Well, let’s think about that. As far as I can see, there are three:

You can give up. As a single Catholic some days are so bleak that it actually seems as if giving up is the most sensible thing to do. After all, why should you have to face more rejection and more pain? But as a man that may be just what God has in mind for you. The fact is that men are hardwired for struggle. Most men know intuitively that you have to fight for the things that are worth getting. One of the reasons we like the chase is because we appreciate things when there is a little bit of risk involved. The prize is always sweeter when it has been won. Hang in there.

You can turn bitter. We’ve all been dumped, or suffered rejection, or perhaps had a really long dry spell when no one is returning any attention. We’ve had it up to here with dating and women in general, and we’re not going to get hurt anymore. So we complain. Hey, sometimes you have to let it all out. Go ahead and rant and rave, but make sure you do it while you’re alone, or with friends or family who know you and want to be there for you. Do it in front of anyone except a potential date. That means don’t post it on online dating sites or in the forums. It’s human to have those feelings but you don’t want to broadcast to the opposite sex every single thing you’re feeling at any given moment. There’s nothing wrong with a little venting from time to time, but you simply cannot let the occasional discouragement turn into full-blown pessimism. Believe me, it will come out in the tone of your correspondence!

Another reaction to bitterness is this: we make sure we tell anyone who will listen just how insane dating is, and how self-absorbed and shallow all the women we contact are, and how no one can see just what a gem they have staring them right in the face. We’ve stayed true to our faith and our ideals and we’ve been cast aside! But as men it’s important to remember that feeling sorry for ourselves is not going to attract anyone. We should be about action. If you want women to see what a gem you are then show them in the way you speak, act, and live. Write a profile that highlights your strengths but don’t brag. Be confident. Someone will see it eventually. And eventually may mean longer than we would like. Just hang in there.

You can forge ahead. There is a point we reach where things seem as if they could not get any bleaker. We all know that point. But I think we all know that it can indeed get bleaker, and very often does. Pain does not last forever (though it can be revisited when we least expect it). But it is not continuous. When things seem really hopeless sometimes we just have to laugh. Feeling pain? Offer it up as reparation for past sins. Feeling hopeless? Pray a decade of the Rosary and meditate on Christ’s Agony in the Garden. Just feel it, get through it, and try again. It’s how we’re built.

Rejection (or being ignored completely) hurts. There is no getting around that. For most of us there will be rejection. Perhaps even periods of frequent rejection. This is part of dating. “Hang in there” is not meant to imply that things will be easy.

I’ve been there. I did not meet my wife until I was 44. Sometimes she is still amazed at my ability to remain hopeful after decades of searching, false starts, painful break-ups and rejection. I hung in there.

Lastly remember that a vocation comes from God. If we have discerned marriage as our vocation, then we have to remember that it is what God wants for us, and it is on God’s timetable. He won’t steer us wrong. He can’t.






30 Comments

  1. Chavel-895977 June 1, 2014 Reply

    Good Sentiment…Things don’t work out, move on to the next…there will always be tomorrow, the sun will rise, and there will the be next….Learn, Adapt, Move On…

    My 2cents

  2. Jim-873983 June 1, 2014 Reply

    This is a very well-written post, but the most important aspect of it is the last paragraph. It’s a wonderful consolation! If you have freely, faithfully and correctly discerned that marriage is to be your vocation, and resign yourself God’s will, you WILL find the spouse He has planned for you!

    However, if marriage is NOT your vocation, then, even if you doggedly search a spouse through all the trials and tribulations, you may not feel fulfilled even when you enter into marriage. That is one of the reasons I think that the Catholic divorce rate is comparable with other Christian sects- many people who ended up getting married had a vocation elsewhere, but they had a societally-imposed preference for marriage, instead of actively discerning God’s will for them.

    Seminaries and convents are empty, and there is panic among members of the Curia over the number of broken Catholic marriages. Does this seem like coincidence to you?

    What needs to be elaborated here is the importance of discernment. It must be done without any influences or preferences, with what the Church calls a “holy indifference”. No matter what plan God has for your life, you must seek it- because He is God, He knows you better than you know yourself, and He wants what is best for you. Even if you discern yourself pulled in an unexpected direction, trust in our loving God’s Will, and follow it! For that is the road to Heaven that He wants you to take!

    God bless, and do not be afraid of discernment!

  3. Michael-692806 June 1, 2014 Reply

    Thanks a lot Eric; a very balanced article in my view and I found it helpful as I went through a breakup earlier this year from a relationship which both of us had high hopes was leading to marriage sooner rather than later …..and ……it hurts a little bit more when you are in your 40′s!! While it is easy to slip onto such a train of thought, feeling sorry for yourself that things did not happen to your own timetable or liking would show a definite lack of faith or a lack of understanding of one’s faith. Regards, Michael

    • Felicia-454710 June 3, 2014 Reply

      Michael, I completely relate to how you feel because I am in my 40s too and I was seeing someone … with the hope of a life journey together … a man of deep faith too … but it didn’t work out no matter how hard I tried and how hard I prayed.

  4. Joan-529855 June 1, 2014 Reply

    I agree with Jim….I don’t believe that men and women spend enough time in discernment for their “state in life”. People today are too focused on “immediate gratification” and not focused enough on “eternal salvation”; the now as opposed to the future.
    Before I married I had an opportunity to discern the religious life. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience the life of the religious in my late teens. Unfortunately many young people today do not have that opportunity.
    Is the higher divorce rate as a result of less time spent in discernment? It would look like it, though I believe the high divorce rate as more to do with Satan’s attempt at destroying the Church by first destroying the family. I believe that God will bless those who choose the vocation of marriage, as long as they remain in his graces. When man/woman fall from God’s grace because they choose Satan’s way over God’s way, a broken family is the end result, which God never intended.

  5. Linda-442926 June 1, 2014 Reply

    Great blog post Erik! I agree with Jim and Joan :)

  6. Rene-747300 June 1, 2014 Reply

    Thank you! Manly encouragement is helpful and Godly advice much appreciated. Seek first the kingdom of God and all things shall be added on to you!

  7. Mark-973089 June 1, 2014 Reply

    Erik, thank you for this article what you mention in the you can turn bitter department does concern me, because you will see people vent their frustations in the forums and chat rooms and that bothers me as well, because when somebody complains about this in the chat room, I often fear that the negative energy will permeate with other members and that is the last thing people need to hear.

    Erik one problem that we have on this website is that people will always look for a bigger reason not to date you then to date you, so how do we change this mentality around a site like this?

  8. Michael-369664 June 2, 2014 Reply

    I’m 58, and I’ve had many years of rejection and discouragement in the dating world. It’s very easy now for a woman to start and raise a family today without being married. Divorce is also easy to get. Today we have more single parent households than married households. I met all my marriage prospects before I was 30, after that no one turned up. I was not sure marriage was my path, and I was unable to date any of the prospects when they were available. From abut 35 on you will find fewer people in the dating pool overall.
    It’s harder than ever for men to find a place in a woman’s life today. The statistic most folks don’t know is this: if you are a single female aged 40, you have a 1% of ever being married. If you are a single male aged 40, you have only a 5% chance of ever being married. People do marry later in life today, but if you wait or don’t get lucky, you run a very high risk of being left behind. You drop off the radar after 50. I’ve rarely seen a first marriage over 40 or 50. People consider you old at that point or they simply won’t date you after a certain age. I tried online dating recently and nothing came of it. I’m not surprised. I did not meet the age, height, or income requirements most women put in their profiles. Good luck men–for me it’s game over.

  9. Gail-1067763 June 2, 2014 Reply

    Well, Michael, you need to re-read the last paragraph in Erik’s post. Statistics don’t mean everything and I know because I’ve taken a lot of statistics courses over the years. It depends on how the numbers are skewed or interpreted. Both my sons were married close to age 35 very happily.I am 63 and happily married for 40 years and I have been a widow a little over two years. I’ve actually communicated with a lot of great guys on CM in my age range who are also widowed some also divorced and talked to a guy today who’s still single. Let’s not have a pity party….God didn’t say life would always be easy or fair, but he did give us tools to work with, like the power of prayer and making the most of oportunities in life like using CM.

  10. Carole-1080999 June 2, 2014 Reply

    Interesting posts ! Thank you all ! Right now, Im a little depressed about CM! Im not looking for marriage at this very moment ,if it comes along ,that’s wonderful ! I’m looking for friendship ,communicating with an adult,and some fun ! And it’s not working out the way I thought it would ,I’m disappointed ! I’m not sure to revamp my profile ? I have many questions ?I’m not a boostful person,and don’t want to appear that way on my profile . Im a very nice ,kind ,person , and very young for my age ,but I want the opportunity to meet men friends on a religious website or at church ,other than a bar. But it’s not happening ! I guess the timing isn’t right ! I’ve never thought of the rejection and hurtful things men go through ! Thank you for enlightening me ! Many Blessings !

  11. Patrick-341178 June 2, 2014 Reply

    Here is an idea that I just thought of.. Why dont more of the 50+ crown discern possible religious life vocations? I read many posts about how lonely and depressed older singles are, so this could be an option for them….

    • Gail-1067763 June 2, 2014 Reply

      Yea, Patrick, I’m not lonely and depressed just know it makes life more complete to have a loving, caring partner to share with! Besides, one of my greatest joys in life is spending time with my grandkids :)!

  12. Carole-1080999 June 2, 2014 Reply

    Patrick hope you were fooling of course.Im not lonely,depressed,or just have to have someone !! I would like to share my life, be sociable ,and plain have fun,before I leave this EARTH . I LOVE LIFE . I just want to enjoy it more ! And having a Man to share life with ( if it is good) it’s Wonderful ! And as you age , hopefully , you’ll get to be as smart as the over the 50+ crowd is !! Ciao. !

  13. Michael-369664 June 2, 2014 Reply

    Hi Gail–I stand by my stats. Often people misinterpret what they mean. I see them as meaning if you do marry after 40, it’s a lucky break. I handled over 500 divorces in my career as a paralegal and librarian.
    Over and over I heard men say they’d never marry again. Please read the book Marry Him by Lori
    Gottlieb. She spent lots of time and money as a 40 plus women in NYC trying to find a 40 plus man.
    It’s quite a tale. I find the exceptions only prove the truth of the rule. I didn’t generate those numbers, the
    Census Bureau did. It’s also very rare for people to have 30 or 40 yr. marriages either. You did well, and you were blessed. I think few women today could expect to have your luck today. Marriage rates today are lowest in almost 40 years. Young women today are avoiding marriage completely. They don’t need it anymore to have a kid or be supported.

    • Gayle-735456 June 4, 2014 Reply

      Michael – You have mentioned a lot of statistics. Keep in mind that those statistics are for the population as a whole or maybe for the general Catholic population, not for devout practicing Catholics. You only need to find one woman, and if you are looking for her, CM is a good place to try and find her.

  14. Carole-1080999 June 3, 2014 Reply

    Michael, I agree. I know of so many woman who are out to get a Rich man,and spend lots if time on self ! Getting a polished up ! With due respect,to all my friends and the woman I know ,I see nothing wrong with getting a manicure and hair done ! What I find fault in the sudden Gratification of self to attain a goal ,because they cannot live without a man, a Rich man ,and that’s where the words High Maintenance comes in ! I look good when I go out,Im clean , sometimes I do my nails,or have them done .However Im not compulsive . I’m not worried to death I won’t find anyone. I have friends,I have my churches,I’m good ! My husband was good to me and we were married almost 16 yrs when he died ! We wished we would have met earlier before 1969 . It takes 2 make a marriage! And there is the church and many support groups to help, so there’s a way ! I appreciate the opportunity to voice my opinions and ideas .Blessings

  15. Andrew-1040810 June 3, 2014 Reply

    Excellent post with superlative, heartfelt comments!! Thanks for sharing your keen insights with us, Erik, and hope to hear more from you in the future.

  16. Bradley-266389 June 3, 2014 Reply

    Very practical advice for the times when we have less-than-saintly patience and forbearance with our current state.

    On the more-idealistic side of things: take heart and know that with God, none of our struggles are wasted, and they will always bear fruit in some way. One must pray to fast from bitterness of the heart…

  17. Kathleen P. June 3, 2014 Reply

    I’ve been widowed 14 yrs. now. our youngest was 10 at the time. Spent the next 12 yrs. raising her. Just in the last few yrs. I’ve been interested in finding love again. My point is, I wish the churches had more for widow and widowers to get together so we could meet. I don’t need support groups now, just something like card games etc. My church seems to do far more for the young groups, and married couples. If u know more places to meet someone that also lost their spouse, pls. let me know. I live in Minn.

  18. Felicia-454710 June 3, 2014 Reply

    Thanks very much, Erik! Exactly what I needed to hear. I constantly remind myself that if it’s meant to be, it’ll happen in HIS time and not mine.

  19. Graeme-379437 June 3, 2014 Reply

    Nice post. I’m in my forties and have felt all this, too. I’ve done all three things at different times. It is hard to give it over to God, but I succeed at that sometimes, too.

  20. Carole-1080999 June 3, 2014 Reply

    What inspiration and insight Im getting from you all! ( Yes,, Kathleen P ) churches see prospects in younger children and families, then us widows, (Widowers ) and it’s a little daunting ! I wish the churches around here in South MS .would have get togethers for us ! Maybe something could get started, hey ? Today ,I’m thinking of adventure, and that’s what we’re on! A quest, that is driven by The Almighty . And today ,I’m feeling that will be,will be! If we’re to find a life partner ,it has to take time . We have to have bad to know what Good …is ! All of us have experienced tragic and bad situations! And the storm passes, and it’s sunny again. Blessings CAROLE

  21. Marie-575233 June 4, 2014 Reply

    Well written and hope filled article. No one likes rejection and being alone. Let’s keep the faith.

  22. Rose-984973 June 4, 2014 Reply

    I think that is can also apply to women. Men aren’t the only ones who face rejection over and over again. I tried as many of friends suggested to get a guy to go to coffee with me only to have them cut me short and all I ever did was ask them for coffee. I saw the signs and knew they were single and thought I was cute so where did I go wrong. I even had a couple of guys who were engaged check me out despite being engaged so I know I must be somewhat attractive? I did not just ask some guy out the blue. I waited and asked around since they were getting up and asking me I figured I would do the modern thing and ask them out. Why do guys not ask women out most women will say yes because they understand how scary it is to ask someone out. Coffee isn’t a date is it? Confused and alone.
    Rose

  23. Carole-1080999 June 4, 2014 Reply

    Rose,thank you for telling us all of your heartfelt feelings.It took a lot of (Guts ) which is a crude word, but accurate ! To mention to us , you put yourself and heart out on the limb to these fellows. And you didn’t get the results you had hoped for,I’m sorry ,as you sound like a sweet woman ! But such is life,everyone of us woman have been rejected ,rebuked , at some point in our lives . So you are not alone ! Just trudge ahead on my friend ! There is good out there ! Keep a stiff upper lip ! Blessings. CAROLE

  24. Tamera-984944 June 5, 2014 Reply

    Lots of very interesting comments and feedback, however, once you’re a single female in your 40′s, it’s really hard to keep believing or hoping that there is a special man out there for you that you just haven’t met yet but you will when the timing is right….all in God’s time. Feel like God hasn’t brought him along yet, or when I have met someone with a lot of positives we went on one date and then nothing. Always thought I wanted to marry in my 20′s and have kids, used to come up with baby names when I was bored and wasn’t even dating anyone. Not sure if I am for certain called to marriage or not but single all your life sure seems like a pretty lonely way to live. And it’s hard when you see other people happy together and having success in life. After a while you sometimes get tired of always being happy for someone else and can’t help but wonder even though you are happy for them, when’s it my turn to have some happiness in my life? Especially when you’re trying to live a moral life, trying to do right in life, and many people who aren’t trying to live holier lifestyles are having the time of their lives, married with children, etc.. I just happened at confirmation to pick St. Elizabeth for my confirmation name without giving it much thought…I’ve sometimes thought guess she was the right one for me because boy if marriage is in my future, I’m an older maid waiting for it and it’ll be a miracle a long time coming just as having a child was for St. Elizabeth and Abraham’s wife, Sarah, waited well into their older years before they became mothers, waited and watched while other women became mothers and they had to wonder why not them. They had to keep waiting on and trusting in God and I sometimes want to ask just how much longer do I have to wait as life is passing by, is it my turn soon to have some good things (permanent job, and maybe a love interest) to come into my life?

    I have a decent life and can’t complain. I do have a great supportive loving family I come from. I have young nieces and nephews now to visit and play with but they’ll grow up eventually and Aunt Tammy will be feeling pretty alone again. I have had so many people say how attractive I am and they just can’t believe I haven’t been married. I think I may give off some unavailable vibe or something or mad at the world…have been told that at times. Sometimes that’s true and other times I’m just misunderstood. I’ve reached out to a few men on this site and a couple of other Catholic singles sites over the past 5+ years and only gotten 2 first dates and no repeats. Thus it’s discouraging to even keep trying sometimes to find someone because so used to no one replying and you start to think well maybe marriage just isn’t in the cards for me.

    And on the topic of not replying, fellows, it’s understandable if a woman reaches out to you and you’re not interested so you just don’t answer…we all do that. But not cool if you express interest in a woman, she responds, and then you don’t reply back. Consider how that makes the woman feel…hard to meet someone so when someone reaches out to you who you are mutually interested in, you get a little hope up only to have someone disappear in the wind, I guess because it’s easier than nicely telling the woman, you’re sorry, you’ve changed your mind and wish her the best of luck in her search. I think a lot of us ladies would appreciate that. so I’m saying be a man and do us that courtesy at least. Yes, women are guilty of the same thing, too, I’m sure. Just saying, really it goes for both men and women, at least reply to someone if they’ve replied to you reaching out to them…it’s the kind and considerate thing to do.

  25. Michael-369664 June 11, 2014 Reply

    20 years ago a female lawyer Chicago wrote to Ann Landers and wondered why she hadn’t had a date in ten years. That lawyer said something I’ll never forget. She said : you may do all the right things and still remain companionless. Even if you never marry or get a date, you are still a worthwhile individual in your own right. Single people can have full and rich lives. Sad to say many great people out there will be rejected for trivial reasons. If it’s happened to you, don’t get down on yourself. This is not a healthy or sane culture, and the dating rituals which worked long ago don’t do very well now. The biggest reason for divorce I see is incompatibility. People marry the wrong person or marry for the wrong reasons. Marriage is such a troubled institution in America. Now same sex marriage is on the table! Will we ever get it right?

  26. Paul-1102399 July 13, 2014 Reply

    ”The biggest reason for divorce I see is incompatibility.”
    Women’s attitude has changed over the last 40 years or so [with the rise of feminism, any surprise?] and every single one of them behaves like a princess who feel they deserve to be pampered all the time! The man’s [aka the ''husband’’ ] role is to see to it that her every need and expectation is met at all times, whatever the circumstance! And, because of this selfish and self-centered behavior on the part of majority of women, the whole institution of marriage is crumbling. Most of the men [forget the church!] has no spine to expose this [because they are scared of being branded ‘’sexist’’] and so the culture of ”smiles, lies and phony behavior’’ continues to wreck marriages..
    Happy hunting everyone!

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