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You find that there are a lot of older single men and younger single women at these events.Oftentimes I find that the older men are seeking potential partners, while the younger women are simply there to have friendships and form community,” he says.“But it’s hard to say that I’m actively looking.” Kania earned her doctorate in physical therapy and works at a hospital in Wallingford, Connecticut.
“People talk [about love and marriage] in a way that assumes your life will turn out in a certain way,” she says.’ The community had some social capital, and it allowed you to be comfortable knowing what you would and wouldn’t have to make decisions about.My mother told me that her biggest worry on a date was what meal she could order so that she still looked pretty eating it.” Today, she says, young adults are bombarded with hyperromantic moments—like viral videos of proposals and over-the-top invitations to the prom—or hypersexualized culture, but there is not much in between.“Catholic events are not necessarily the best place to find potential Catholic dating partners,” says Christopher Jolly Hale, 25.“In fact, it can be a downright awkward experience.“It’s hard to express skepticism about that without sounding overly negative, because I’d like to get married, but it’s not a guarantee.” She says that when she’s able to ignore her friends’ Facebook status updates about relationships, marriages, and children, she recognizes the fullness of her life, as is, and tries not to worry too much about the future. “Just being open to people and experiences and meeting friends of friends makes sense to me.” As young adults move further from their college days, the natural social circles within which they may meet new people become less obvious.Many seek out young adult events sponsored by Catholic groups, parishes, or dioceses in an effort to broaden their circle of friends.The major challenge posed by the dating world today—Catholic or otherwise—is that it is just so hard to define.Most young adults have abandoned the formal dating scene in favor of an approach that is, paradoxically, both more focused and more fluid than in the past.According to a 2011 Pew Research Center study, 59 percent of people ages 18 to 29 were married in 1960. While it seems that there are more ways than ever to find a spouse—online dating and social media alongside the more traditional methods of parish events or friends of friends, among others—this array of options can also be overwhelming.For Catholics, discussions of faith can serve as a shortcut to discovering those shared values.