(RNS) – A social ritual that’s part a Hallmark movie, part a glove of humiliation, dating is a constant courtship with the unknown. So, any enterprising young date looking to alleviate some of the process uncertainties begins by eliminating the variables. And religion can be a good place to start.
After all, nearly half of American adults think that sharing their religious beliefs with a spouse is “very important,” according to a 2016 Pew survey.
But, sometimes sorting out potential mates on the basis of a shared religion can result in strange bedfellows. Do you think JDate, Christian Mingle or Catholic Match will make the process easier? Think again.
An Instagram account keeps tabs on the daily mortifications of Catholic dating, soliciting submissions of weird, funny and heartbreaking openings encountered in digital nature.
Catholic Dating Nightmares was launched in February 2020 and has grown to 7,000 subscribers. âLaugh at the process because otherwise we’ll cry,â the page’s bio read.
And, OK, for the most part, the joke is on the men.
Do you think JDate, Christian Mingle or Catholic Match will make the process easier? Think again.
Veronica Marrinan, a Catholic and dating veteran who runs her own clothing line in Brooklyn, finds the therapeutic count in a unique way because she has a Catholic worldview.
âIt’s so much fun. I love this account so much,â Marrinan said. âIt feels so much like camaraderie, like compassion with people who share my experience.â
Part of the reason the account pokes fun at men’s behavior is probably due to its audience: women use Instagram more than men (56% of Instagram users in the US are women).
Marrinan insisted it was more about laughing at the process than the men, although she believes the narrative justifies blowing up the gentlemen.
âI don’t know what men are like in a dating profile,â she said. “They just say things that, you’re like, would you tell me about that if we were in a face-to-face conversation?”
Marrinan met her current boyfriend in person. But, in the past, she tried dating non-religious apps like Bumble and Hinge because, she admitted, she didn’t want to date people she might meet later at church.
âYes, you might know a lot about Thomas Aquinas, but you don’t know a lot about sociability. “
âI feel like the people I got along with personally were on non-religious dating apps, and the people I got along with on a value level were on Christian or Catholic dating apps. So it was like being constantly between a rock and a hard place, âsaid Marrinan.
She said she had also seen more traditional ideas about gender roles on Catholic applications – coming from both men and women. âThere is this idea that a guy wants a girl who is docile, easily moldable and very soft. This has a tinge of grooming in it. Like, you want someone that you can mold in your own image, âshe said.
She thinks it can cause Catholic women to don a really seamless, vanilla character to get the attention of men. âYou see calm girls who are all the same. I tell myself that there is a personality down there somewhere, I know that! said Marrinan, laughing.
Boston College professor Kerry Cronin has studied Catholic youth and dating. She said she often sees some kind of dating prosperity gospel that men and women both fall for.
âI’ve seen young Catholics operate with the attitude ‘God is going to drop the perfect person into my lap, because God is going to reward me for being a good Catholic,'” said Cronin.
Almost half of American adults think sharing their religious beliefs with a spouse is “very important,” according to a 2016 Pew survey.
And too much emphasis on theological prowess without any sort of social training can really get in the way of a young Catholic Casanova’s game.
“Yes, you might know a lot about Thomas Aquinas,” Cronin said, “but you don’t know a lot about being social.”
Cronin also said young Catholics are too often determined to find a future spouse, rather than getting to know people in the moment.
Often times, this can lead to the topic of marriage being brought up much faster than appropriate or serious issues being addressed on a second or first date, she said. declared.
âObviously you want to let people know that you are there for something serious rather than a connection. But announcing this on the first or second date is a mistaken notion of dating, âCronin said.
Ken Burchfiel, an MBA student at Columbia University, said he saw a trend in Catholic dating that over-idealizes marriage.
On apps that put religion front and center, the pressure to show godliness can lead to embarrassing encounters.
âI wonder if men and women sometimes have too high expectations for relationships out of the mistaken belief that their spouse can ‘fill’ them when only God can,â he said.
Burchfiel converted to Catholicism at university. He said the Catholic Match dating app has become a way to connect with a new faith community that shares its values ââand meet dates outside of its playing fields.
Going through Catholic Dating Nightmares, Burchfiel stopped and chuckled. “Sometimes people expect too much from a spouse.”
On apps that put religion front and center, the pressure to show godliness can also lead to awkward encounters. On a Catholic Singles website, Cronin has seen members write serious or vulnerable information in prompts to attract matches that are simpatico with them at a deep level.
âI have seen prompts where people say, ‘Jesus in the Eucharist is the center of my life,’â said Cronin. “And I’m like, oh yes, Jesus in the Eucharist is the center of my life, but I didn’t really think about leading with that as my first horse out of the gate.”
But, of course, the whole point of dating is that it’s a bit awkward, Cronin admitted. The blunders are part of the story.
âDating is fun and vulnerable. We are all meandering through it, âshe said.