Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Sweetening or Festering?

An interesting question from Seraphic Alumna Shiraz:

But -- here is my but -- I have a pet theory about this. [My now-husband and I] were both young [when we met] (early twenties) and he was really very sweet and excited to have a nice girlfriend (he had had prior non-religious girlfriends who turned out to be Not Very Nice), so that helped. 

Also, I've found, and friends have found, that as the men you are dating get older, some of this sweetness dissipates. My friends have found that older guys expect more, and faster, whether religious or no. They are also more likely to play games, e.g. texting only after a time lag of a certain length, not signalling whether or not they are dating only you or others too, etc etc. I was wondering: what do you think about this? That yes, it depends on the guy -- you'll find jerks and non-jerks distributed through the religious and non-religious population, but that also that game playing and sexual expectations seem to increase with age? Does this hold true for anyone else, or is it just my friends who've seen this pattern?

Guys playing games sounds like "Game" to me. And "Game" is the plaything of men who are so frustrated by women, they begin to see us as a kind of commodity for which they are in competition with other men. And, unfortunately, some of the psychological tricks of Game work on some women.

Occasionally I try to imagine what it is like to be a man. This isn't as hard to do as you may think as men write so many books--especially novels--about being men. Also, I had brothers and I generally mined boyfriends for stories about their lives. (Poor boyfriends.) Two themes crop up: the beastliness of bigger boys towards smaller boys--the awful violence of childhood that damps down to adult competitiveness--and the mystery and confusion of women.

When I was a child, the boys I knew were very nasty to girls, and so boys seemed to improve as I got older. Although boys in my elementary school class were fond of obscene language and sexual harassment, boys I met in high school were not at all like that. They were rather sweet, now that I think about it. My principal crush objects from that era married shortly after they graduated from university. The only real trouble I had from Men Who Expected Stuff was from someone who assumed all Western women were sexually active and from a Gamer in his late thirties who was very possibly insane.

I suspect I sidestepped a lot of garbage by avoiding non-Catholic dating sites and by usually dating only guys who were Catholics or work buddies.

The reflection on guys I knew in high school gives rise to a hypothesis. My hypothesis is that sweet men--men who believe in love--form attachments at a relatively young age, and hang on like limpets to their beloveds. Most of them get married young, too, or move in with their beloveds in such numbers that, yes, it does indeed look like "All the good ones are taken."  Asses--men who believe they deserve a non-stop smorgasbrod of sex--tend not to form stable, loving attachments when they are young.

However, some of these sweet and tender limpets get scraped off by their beloveds, for not all young women are sweet and loyal (Exhibit A: the young Seraphic, whom I advise all Eavesdroppers to avoid should they ever have access to time machine), which makes them available again. And either they are still sweet, or their broken hearts make them bitter.

If bitter, they are encouraged in their bitterness by the Asses. And the Asses make misogynist jokes which shock but also amuse the Mr Broken Hearts, and if the Mr Broken Hearts admire the Asses, they try to be more like them. And they can do this quite easily if they start reading Pick Up Artist blogs or even shelling out the cash to take notes in Pick Up Artist seminars.

(I've noticed that PUA is never about finding ONE gorgeous woman who will MARRY you and HAVE YOUR CHILDREN and MAKE YOUR HOUSE LOOK NICE and STAND BY YOU when your HAIR FALLS OUT.)

The thing is, though, that there are men who carry on like Asses in their teens or twenties and suddenly, or not so suddenly, feel ashamed of themselves and want to be better men. In short, they grow up and get married--possibly to the women who inspired such grown-up thoughts--and have heart attacks fourteen years later when their little girls appear at the dinner table dressed in stripper wear for their first high school dances.

And those are my thoughts. In short: most sweet men settle down young, some sweet men become available latter, some asses have conversion experiences, and some rejected sweet men fester and join the remaining asses.

My own solution to the problem, were I a merry widow, would be to look for such delightful, unbrokenhearted, unattached and still-sweet young men in their twenties who admire ladies in their forties, and with that I shall now go look up what the PUAs have to say about COUGARS.

Update: Since we are talking about men's experiences, it's okay for Eavesdroppers to leave comments today. However, it's not Gentleman's Day, so I am removing my strict protection and code of conduct. Y'all can fight. No bad words, though.

Update 2: Game for women? Okay, this post is rather, um, frank and, um, coarse. But it has some good points, mostly gleaned from Why Men Love *itches. Incidentally, why do some women think it makes them sound more authoritative to use coarse language? My gym teacher never did, and when she said, "Jump", we darn well jumped.

Update 3: I have been reading another blogpost , which boils WMLB down (up?) to 100 points, and gave up at 37 because the points made me sad. The war between the sexes is, for me,  primary evidences for the lingering effects of Original Sin.  How nice if we just let our yes be yes, and our no be no, and nobody ever needed to tell anyone not to be a booty call.

Update 4: Once I got an email from a Catholic guy who said that Game really helped him, even though he understood that PUA culture was really disgusting. And so my loathing of Game wavered a bit. But today I saw this:
  • Several Heads Are Better Than One – like wolves hunting in packs, this chapter teaches you how to get your friends to "wingman" for you. With these teamwork techniques, the ladies won't stand a chance and you and your friends will be enjoying the results one night after another after another after another!
Wolves hunting in packs. "The ladies" won't stand a chance. You and your friends will be enjoying the results. Hmm, how very gang rapey. Gross, gross, gross.


Michael said...

I have a broken wrist, i.e. time to write :-). So the opportunity to drop my hat is most welcome ;-)

I think it is a game against time on the good-hearted men's side.

First, we learnt "the art of pursuing women correctly" by having a model to follow, but have to learn it on our own by Trial&Error.

Second, I think it must be a conscious decision on the young man's side to not developing a misogynist worldview by while
- investing time and energy in working on improving the way of interaction with women.
- receiving rejections from women we held in high esteem

I say to myself: be a gentleman and don't change your positive view about a woman by the fact that she rejected your pursuit.

Michael said...

Sorry, a mistake. We *NOT* learnt "the art of pursuing women correctly" by having a model to follow

Anonymous said...

Uggh. I made the mistake of reading your link on 'Game for women'. PUAs (both make and female) are just sooo sleazy. And wrong. Their 'recipe for success' only works on people who think like them. Plenty of guys are not put off by 'needy' girls 'wanting a relationship', but are put off by women who 'put themselves first' and consequently, are aloof or bail out when they have had enough, instead of working issues through.

On your theory Seraphic, it's not bad, but I don't see where it leads (apart from leading you to reading about PUA rules for cougars ;) )

I agree with Michael - we blokes don't get taught anything (guys don't really talk about dating techniques and such like girls do), so have to learn by trial and error.

This is compounded by smaller families nowadays; if you have big families, you are highly likely to have siblings of the other gender, so grow up familiar with the mannerisms of the opposite sex.

But mostly, there seems to have been a fundamental shift in society in the last 80 years or so. Our grandparents and earlier humans grew up in societies where teenagers were kinda mentored/apprenticed into jobs and adult life by adults of their family & village. Along with that came subtle instruction in what was/was not acceptable in dating behaviour, and unsubtle hints about who was available to date, etc. I'm not romanticising past eras, just noting how they seem to have done things.

Boomers had a residual effect of that, but Gen X and Y have missed out, and dating and marriage have suffered. Massively exacerbated by liberal hook up culture, which scares guys & girls off for fear of appearing naive, innocent (since when was that a bad thing?), easy, frigid, etc.

Maybe I'm over-theorising, but.... I had a 2 hour chat with my Boomer parish priest the other evening after Mass. Intensely frustrating, but very instructive to realise how ignorant he was of younger attitudes and the need for encouragement of Catholic dating & marriage. And he wonders why he is mostly marrying couples who already have kids in the local Catholic school!

Actually, I wonder if that is what your Update 4 guy meant Aunty? That he had no instruction in how to date, so any info gleaned from PUA talk was useful. Which would highlight why the church should do more to encourage good dating habits.

Sorry for the ramble. Vast topic.

Southern Bloke.
P.S. I was originally chatting to my PP about the need for transparency in parish finances (no accounts ever published). He really didn't get the need for laypeople to see church summary accounts, which is kinda terrifying, given a local diocese recently went bankrupt with $12m debt.

Anonymous said...

Oh, back on topic. The worst thing I think a woman can do is to laugh or sneer at a bloke who asks her out - highly likely to turn a sweet man into a bitter man. Especially if done in public, as his mates will mock him mercilessly. Which curbs a lot of men from even trying to ask for dates in front of others, which cuts opportunities to ask down dramatically.

But lets not over-emphasise the numbers of bitter men; most fellas are sweet guys who just need a prod in the right direction. Preferably, a cattle prod.

Southern Bloke.

Louise said...

I think that your theory is right, Seraphic, and that it leads to needing to encourage women to prioritise marriage at a young age in order to meet the nice ones before they are taken. Many of my same-age female friends (25) won't even think of marrying before 30 and certainly didn't put finding a good man high on their list of things to do in university. As a result, they are either all single or regularly date the not-so-nice men you describe and can't work out where the nice ones went. I can't help but think that if they had focused on relationships earlier, they might have been able to find a like-minded nice guy before now, especially since so many people meet their spouses in uni.

Anonymous dude said...

One more category -- aside from the sweet men (who are trying to get married) and the "asses", there are also all the guys who are so confused by the dating vs. courtship vs friends-first vs friend-zoning stuff... that they tune out women all together. In Catholic circles, this group of single men may be larger than either of the groups in your post.

I'm not blaming women here, because much of this comes from other, well-meaning men who are trying to steer their brothers away from jerk-like behavior but end up inducing a sort of paralysis. Sometimes I think we would be better off without all of the Josh Harris and "wild at heart" ideas so the nice guys and girls wouldn't *think* so much...

thepinkeminence said...

Oh, Louise, I hope you are not right--but maybe you are. I am now one of those impossibly "old" women (29) who has aged out sweet men, but I was dating when I was quite young and none of them were ever interested in me. I think it's interesting that we're correlating "sweetness" in men with innocence and, often, sexual naivete. I have known many sweet boys like that, but I do want to assert that another form of male "sweetness"--gentlemanly behavior--seems to emerge in mature men. There are men around me now in their 30s and 40s (both married and single) who were probably too awkward and uncomfortable to be sweet when they were young, but who now have the confidence and experience to be thoughtful and kind (to everyone, including women). So I don't think male marriageability expires so soon, though it may be true that especially marriage-minded men (the limpets :)) settle down early. Or perhaps I am just hoping?

Roseograce said...

This may not be exactly on topic, but it is related.

I read the article you linked about "Why Men Love *itches." It reminded me in some ways of "The Rules," which in turn reminded me of the predominant reaction I have to all of those dating and relationship do's and dont's: STRESS.

It seems to me (and this is MY pet theory, based mainly on direct observation and the testimony of first-hand sources) that successful dating and romantic relationships - i.e. Those that lead to marriage - should not be so much work and should not involve so much strategy. Shouldn't there be an organic-ness to dating and romance that eschews the need to stress about what the other person is thinking and to plot about how to keep them around?

If you and another person "click" - doesn't everything just fall naturally into place?

Of course, I understand the need for BOUNDARIES -- but the idea of "rules" and "games" is so off-putting. Frankly, those things sound like exhausting methods of dealing with other people, not to mention unnatural.

I've seen it look so easy with many of my friends who fall in love and get married. There just isn't all this rules and games nonsense. They love each other and love loving each other and strategy seems to be hardly an issue in all of this.

Perhaps that is just my own wishful thinking after looking at real romantic relationships through a rose-colored lens, but I am rather fond of my theory and hope it turns out that way for me too.

Jess said...

I'm with Roseograce! Maybe I am also naive but ... rules schmules.


Louise said...

thepinkeminence, I don't mean at all that all the good ones are gone. I just noticed that a lot of my contemporaries went out of their way to avoid the nice ones when we were about 20-23 ish, because they couldn't abide the thought of getting married, and now they seem to be having a harder time finding those limpets! I think you are definitely right that a second round of eligibility comes into play (my uncle married for the first time at 40, been married more than 15 years now with two kids and my grandmother married again after being widowed at 39 and had 3 more children). I think it's more of a problem for non-Catholic girls, anyways, since most Catholic girls want to get married sooner rather than later. I certainly don't think 29 is the age at which to give up hope!

lauren said...

Well Louise, most of the women my age (early 30's) would have happily gone on dates in our early twenties. In fact, we did, sometimes. I don't think there was any avoidance of the good guys. But I, for one, am deeply, deeply glad that I didn't marry the man I was in love with at 20, or the one I was in love with at 24. I am more mature, thoughtful, confident, and relaxed now than I was in my early 20's (and I dress better now too!). While life has taken its toll, I actually think I'm a better catch now than I was then. But then again, I'm single, so what do I know about it? ;)

Also, I never found "sweetness" a particularly endearing trait anyway. Intellect, humor, kindness, good manners all rank way above sweetness for me.

thepinkeminence said...

Louise, I don't think we actually really disagree, your prognosis for young marriages just struck terror into my heart! Lauren, I absolutely agree with you about being a better "catch" now than I was when I was young, though I am apparently less appealing judging by how much I date :) I have known young women who were very much ready to settle down and be mothers in their very early 20s, but I don't think I was one of them.
I also think we are using "sweet" differently. Everyone likes different personality types, but I think what I really meant was loving, and unashamed of it. I don't think those of us who are pro-"sweet" (including Shiraz?) are looking for a man who writes poetry, looks perpetually misty-eyed, and can't live without a good romcom. I think kind and loving is more the "sweet" trait. Hope so, anyway!

Shiraz said...

I wrote a comment on "sweetness" -- saying I meant more upfrontness and excitement, NOT naiveté or innocence -- and that older seemed to correlate with more wary, cautious, guarded, and I'm not sure if it uploaded to the site. So that was the gist if it didn't work! If it did work, please disregard this repeat!

Julia said...

Hi, Louise. I'm 23 (just for some context), and while I think I see what you're saying, I'd be a bit nervous about thinking that we need "to encourage women to prioritise marriage at a young age in order to meet the nice ones before they are taken". I guess all women are different, but the idea of being married now, at 23, makes me sweat. This is not because I want to lead some crazy party-girl lifestyle and go on a bogan booze-up in Bali every year while stiletto-ing everyone who gets in the way of my career (not that I think you're suggesting that). It's more that I feel as if there are things I'd like to accomplish (e.g. finish my Masters degree) before I could feel well-equipped to be a wife and mother. I wouldn't necessarily think that "all the good ones" are snapped up by 23 - I think there would be very many good men who would also feel ill-equipped for marriage so early in life.

Secondly, the idea of putting "finding a good man high on their list of things to do in university", while not necessarily a straight-out bad idea, also makes me a little nervous. I chose my uni course and my uni based on what I wanted to study, and I got to focus on my demanding degree without the distraction of romantic relationships. That's something I'm very grateful for. Other women are different, no doubt. But if I had been told at 18 that one of my major priorities at uni needed to be scoping out a potential spouse, I would have felt a very real (and very unnecessary) sense of panic.

That leads me to my next point. I'm not sure what sort of university you attended, but I attended a large, secular, public university and studied a field dominated by socio-cultural left-wing "progressives". There were certainly not many men there who I would have considered dating, not least because the vast, vast majority of them would have been antipathetic (at best) to Catholicism. A significant proportion of the men were also same-sex attracted. Another issue is that many of the straight men were already in "relationships" (read: sleeping with a woman and maybe living with her). There aren't many early engagements or marriages going on around here, unless you count the couples who have already been sharing a bed for years. I only know of one married couple around my age who met at my uni. They're Lutherans who dated for about two-and-a-half years while studying before being engaged for about nine months before their marriage. I'm surprised they met each other in that faculty, to be honest. Not the place to seek a Christian spouse.

Malgorzata said...

Mary, I can't agree with the view that it is our primary goal in life to catch the man and become a wife.
I'm Polish, 29, single and haven't met any straight man for a couple of years. However, after graduating I went to live in Italy where I worked at university, had the opportunity to travel and grow. Had I found a husband before, I wouldn't have been able to do all those things. True, my choices might have limited my chances of ever getting married, but I'd rather be a spinster with the experiences I have (which I hope makes me a more interesting human being) than a naive young wife with no personality.

I am different than I used to be and, like Lauren, I know that I'm a better catch now than I was in my early twenties. Italians have a nice proverb "Meglio sola che male accompagnata" which can be translated "I'd rather be single than in a bad company". I whole-heartedly agree. It's a wisdom that comes with age.

Seraphic said...

Well said, Malgorzata! And that certainly reflects the majority view on my poll!

Louise said...

Julia, I totally understand your points. I certainly don't mean everyone has to get married at 22, only that in my personal experience, I've seen a lot of arbitrary putting off of dating good guys versus players/party boys because my friends didn't think they'd want to settle down young. I cannot speak for everybody by any means - I just can't help but think that their odds would have been better several years back when they were surrounded by a lot of like-minded people. I should also add that I'm just talking about women in general, because 89% of my friends and family fall into the non-Catholic group. I probably should have clarified that, because clearly Catholic girls are more likely to be prioritising marriage anyways.

I also went to a secular, public university in Britain (and secular in Britain is pretty secular!). While it's true that a lot of the couples I know lived together first, I've seen quite a few fairly early marriages/engagements (24-27) among those secular couples from university. I think Seraphic's theory about sweet men applies to the secular as well - while they definitely don't follow Catholic morals in relationships, I think the sweet secular men get snapped up fairly young as well. I would add though that I definitely do count the "ouples who have already been sharing a bed for years." In Britain, marriage is becoming more and more rare, in favour of living together forever, so while those couples haven't gone about it in the ideal way, I still celebrate the fact that they married at all.

thepinkeminence, I am very sorry I struck terror into your heart! Not my intention at all!

Seraphic said...

To add an additional two cents, I married a 23 year old. He was not exactly "an upfront and excited guy" (though I had dated such guys) but the sort of guy who always got whatever he set his mind to getting through hard work and cleverness and thought virgin women the only type worth marrying. For 23 he was really rather cynical and old-mannish. (He may be a great guy today, incidentally. For one thing, he has kept a dignified silence about my book and blogging, which is more than I can say of at least one crazed ex-suitor.)

And I was very, very young for my age, and rather thoughtless and fickle about men, and for the life of me, I can't tell you why although at the time I hated myself for it and thought maybe I could MAKE myself stay interested in a guy by marrying him.*

Possibly I would have been spared a lot of suffering if some kindly doctor had put me on Prozac. Or, if instead of consulting the priest who just laughed at me, had an older married woman "who had been there" to talk to.

At any rate, I will say until I am blue in the face that it was better to be Single and 37 than it was to be 25 and married to the wrong guy.

Julia said...

Hi, Louise! It seems like we have had a sort of similar uni experience then - Australia does "secular" pretty well too. In fact, I have uni friends (men and women) whom I like very much and have known for years, and they still have no idea I'm Catholic. Religion is an unmentionable in Australia, and I tend to just "talk shop" with my uni mates anyway, so it doesn't really come up.

The fact that you clarified that you were talking about women in general, not just Catholics, makes everything "click" for me now. I had originally assumed that you were referring to religious girls almost exclusively.

Yeah, there are certainly non-religious uni men I know who are among the ranks of the "sweet guys". I have some genuinely very nice non-religious male friends from uni.

Malgorzata, that's a great Italian proverb!

Sheila said...

Hm, lately I've been wishing more Catholic women would marry later! Mainly because of economics, I guess, but also because many women do want to accomplish a little more than motherhood.

I mean, here are two scenarios. There's me: married one year out of college at 23. I worked fulltime for two years and parttime for one year at my dream job (teaching) and was just beginning to get good at it when I had to quit because motherhood was just too demanding. We live in a tiny house, because even though my husband has worked long hours with night school after in order to land a decent-paying job, most of the paycheck gets eaten up with debt. (I have none, but DH has some.) We've been married four years and we still can't do much of what we dreamed of because of money. Meanwhile, I want to homeschool and let the babies come as God wills, so that's 30 years or so before I can expect to do any of the things I dreamed of -- travel, teach again, etc. I'm not exactly complaining -- I do love my life very much and I wasn't that attached to my job. But do ALL Catholic women called to marriage want ten kids and no career?

Meanwhile my friend has had a chance to build a fun career, travel, meet interesting people, accomplish a lot of her dreams, and go to grad school (though she decided against it). If she gets married, she's still got time to have a few kids, but she won't end up with ten, which is good because she doesn't want ten.

Some of us are called to marry young, some aren't. I think fear of all the guys being snapped up would could drive a lot of girls into settling or marrying when they aren't really ready. Guys, too, could stand to think of their finances and try to build a career and pay down debt a bit before getting married. My husband is crippled in his career because he's expected to start with a part-time job, but we can't live on that. If he could have lived in a dive with a roommate while doing his year or so of part-time work, he could be achieving much more of his own dreams now.

How does that fit in to the actual dating scene? How are 30-somethings supposed to find spouses? I don't know. I wish we had more of a framework for this stuff. I just don't think everyone getting married before 25 is the answer.

Sheila said...

Different comment for a different topic: Wouldn't have thought it, but I actually rather like those rules for b*tches. I hate rules in general. But I feel like those can all be summarized this way: Be confident. Don't be desperate. If a man doesn't seem interested, be willing to move on. If he sees you're willing to move on, it might pique his interest rather than the opposite.

Encouraging women to have some dignity and self-respect can never be a bad thing! Also waiting to put out instead of being "easy." Too many women think they can keep a man by sleeping with him, when it's actually the opposite.

I do know one thing: these rules (though I'd never heard them before) helped me turn my long half-relationship into something real. I think my husband was just waiting for some sign that I was confident and independent, not a needy leech. He had even told me as much, but I thought, "But this is what women are like!"

Yes, it is what women are like. And it's what women SHOULD be like when we're married -- loyal, always there for them, loving unconditionally, etc. But it's not what women should be like when the man is not committed, because it's not appropriate for the context. And men, expecting women to be like men, find it weird and scary.

Though of course one should ignore the sex part completely. Sex isn't courtship behavior, it's commitment behavior, so it should never be a means for trying to impress someone. Ew. Even if you're married, ew. Also the money part -- you shouldn't ask a guy you're dating for a loan, but if you're married, there is only Family Money and you should remind yourself that he wouldn't be able to make that money without your support, so it's yours too.

Of course this should all be tempered with what you know of the guy. If you think he might be really into you but afraid you're not as interested, you'll be a bit more available than you would to a guy who seems very confident but not as into you. But I think these rules (from what I read in the blog posts, I haven't read the book) could be very helpful for some women.

Seraphic said...

I liked those b*tch rules, too. I just wish they had a nicer name, and that our culture was less crude, and that women just grew up knowing that stuff and didn't have to get it out of a book. Sigh!

As some guy said on someone else's blog about me, "Don't they hear this stuff from their mothers?" Answers: A) Yes, but they don't listen; B) No.

lauren said...

Sheila, thanks for your gracious comment. There's just so much diversity of life experience, and there are good things and hard things about every stage, so a blanket prescription to do X, Y, or Z (marry young, play by The Rules, or be a b!tch) is of pretty limited use, I think.

I do wish you or somebody had suggestions for the how-30-somethings-are-supposed-to-meet-spouses issue, though! ;)

Seraphic said...

@Lauren. Well, I met some cool men through blogging and married one of them!

Louise said...

Sorry Julia, I should have said that at the beginning - my bad! I just have a lot of secular friends who are suffering because of the dating world and I wish they had had different experiences, because it's so sad to hear about. Some of the men they have put up with dating are most definitely not the sweet kind, and I don't think they would have wasted their time with those idiots if they had been thinking about marriage, instead of fun. One of them actually told her he would date her but only until baseball season! And she did! Another one continues to date a man who she has told me would be a bad husband and father and who told her to 'just get rid of it' when she thought she was pregnant. I can't help but think that if marriage was a priority, the excuses to keep a guy she knows she doesn't want to marry would evaporate.

I haven't had your discretion, I'm afraid - I'm not British, so the whole reserve thing has passed me by! And you are definitely right about sweet secular men - many of my friends who did get married/engaged/soon-to-be-engaged found nice secular men who while not religious were happy to let the family be Catholic/Christian.

Pearlmusic said...

It is sometimes hard to maintain a fine balance between our dignity self-respect or confidence and "putting ourselves first" and consequently "being aloof" (to quote Southern Bloke - I dislike this idea, too). But I also think men get discouraged too soon and judge by stereotypes a bit. I hate being called a "career woman" for instance, because - at least in my view - I never really chose career over marriage - I just took the chances I've been given and there was neither a marriage proposal among them nor any serious candidate.

And, believe it or not, I was totally uninteresting to the young, sweet and open-hearted kind of guys until I was 26.

Julia said...

Sorry Julia, I should have said that at the beginning - my bad! I just have a lot of secular friends who are suffering because of the dating world and I wish they had had different experiences, because it's so sad to hear about. Some of the men they have put up with dating are most definitely not the sweet kind, and I don't think they would have wasted their time with those idiots if they had been thinking about marriage, instead of fun. One of them actually told her he would date her but only until baseball season! And she did! Another one continues to date a man who she has told me would be a bad husband and father and who told her to 'just get rid of it' when she thought she was pregnant. I can't help but think that if marriage was a priority, the excuses to keep a guy she knows she doesn't want to marry would evaporate.

I haven't had your discretion, I'm afraid - I'm not British, so the whole reserve thing has passed me by! And you are definitely right about sweet secular men - many of my friends who did get married/engaged/soon-to-be-engaged found nice secular men who while not religious were happy to let the family be Catholic/Christian.

No worries, Louise, no need to apologise! In fact, it's my bad for concluding something that you didn't even imply.

Sounds like some of your friends have put themselves through some completely unnecessary heartache. Argh, the one who said "just get rid of it"...

A friend told me of a young woman who openly admitted she wouldn't want to have babies with her boyfriend (as in, she wouldn't have wanted this guy to be the father of her kids one day). My friend and I had a hard time working that one out. We were thinking, "Um, then what are you doing dating this guy...?" It is puzzling. I think the girl didn't want to have children with her boyfriend because she thought he was a bit of an idiot.

Julia said...

Whoops, sorry there, Louise, I didn't mean to paste your comment onto the combox. I copied it into by little screen that so I could refer to it as I wrote a reply, and then I forgot to delete it! So just read from "No worries, Louise".