It's not that I ever took a vow not to date anymore. Since I broke up with my last boyfriend, the one I thought I wanted to marry (and whom I thought wanted to marry me, but I was wrong and he lied), I've only gone out on a couple of dates. They were fine. Nothing weird. One guy was nice enough,a Ph.D who was new in town and just looking to connect with a new social group. I saw right away he was a control freak. He was massively intelligent but defective in both his Catholic genes (was a fan of Voice of the Fuddled and was brainwashed to think they were "orthodox"), and really seemed to have a need to control everyone around him as much as possible.
It wasn't so bad on one date and at a couple social gatherings where we both happened to be present, but of course, that kind of guy, over time, gets worse. Not better. But he did me a favor and moved somewhere else so the dating possibility went elsewhere with him. Good guy for a friend, but thank GOD for preventing me (and hopefully any woman) from being his wife!
Other than that, I haven't met anyone I've even WANTED to date. To be clear, I LOVE men, I am very attracted to men, but I also find the pickings very slim. So many single men aren't interested in holiness; even in their 30's, they seem to be into the party scene, refusing to grow up and move on, or, of those who ARE incredible, I seem to have missed the boat. I have to wonder if I'm a rarity in my age group? A woman who truly loves Our Lord...but lives in an age group that has bought so into the secular culture of relativism that they find God, if they believe in Him, to be a hindrance to their hookups?
It's not that I've ever been any beauty at all, and in a thousand years, I wouldn't stand out in a crowd. (I like that, actually.) When it comes to marriage, looks may be a hook to get attention, but it doesn't last. The happiest couples I know aren't the beautiful people worshiped via Hollywood's lens; they're average everyday people who don't stand out to anyone but to each other.
And that's one of the factors I've considered in my own Vocational discernment.
It isn't about "I'm ugly so I should be a nun."
It's not, "I can't find a decent guy, so I should be a nun."
Discernment doesn't come from deprivation, but only with a focus on love. Where is love to be found? Where is God to be found? What is God's will? Where is Christ most expressed to us, through us to others?
Deprivation, or some perceived and alleged flaw, isn't a part of understanding and seeking what we are called to be.
While we need to understand what we are "giving up", we also need to understand what we are gaining, in any state in life. I have friends who desired to be Nuns or Sisters...and ended up happily married. They saw an ideal, and God revealed His plan, when it was time. They were ready to give up the world, and God revealed to them the way to gain it and eternity entirely.
So often, the men and women who choose and are chosen by the priesthood (for men!) and religious life are subject to diatribes from the world about what they have supposedly "given up". The world forgets that some have tried what the world had to offer and found it...insulting, at best. Dismal. Unfulfilling. Typically the issue, from the worldly point of view, is sex.
People, get over it. You can live without it and be far happier without all the angst it causes.
It IS a deprivation to give up children and family, and for religious, to even be separated from family and friends while still walking the planet. But it's a sacrifice with meaning.
Dating...had no meaning for me. I'm not sure when that happened, but at some point, I just stopped looking or caring. And that's where God entered in and asked me to look at Him.
I don't really miss dating. Sure, it was nice to go to dinner and a movie sometimes, and the last guy I dated was a perfect gentleman (THAT was rare!) who didn't expect to be "paid" for dinner. The food, the conversation, the social aspect...that's something that was very enjoyable but I can find that same enjoyment with my friends.
At some point, I realized there is supposed to be something more. THAT was the deprivation.
Some people are called to marriage, and my heart goes out to them as they seek the one God has chosen for them. Long marriages are amazing, and in this culture, it seems so hard for any woman to find a good man, and vice versa.
Sometimes, I realize that I'll never be married, and I'm a bit saddened, but at the same time, I have this sense that it was never meant to be, anyway. From the time I was a little girl, even as I spoke about marriage, I don't think I ever really believed it was something I'd experience.
It doesn't sadden me, so don't offer "condolences" or "there now's".
There is no consolation prize that you can offer, and I'm not in need of consolation of any sort...none offered by this world.
If I WAS in need of consolation, however, and if any future-brides out there need help in gaining perspective, I would recommend going HERE. And you may find that your attitude has been properly adjusted.
Or, uh, consoled.
And that's all I have to say about that.
Oh, yes, Adoro has a funny bone.