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, I found myself responding to his brief message in my inbox.My response was part of my effort to be open, to make new connections, and maybe be pleasantly surprised.“I think what’s missing for young adults is the comfort of knowing what comes next,” Cronin says.“Years ago you didn’t have to think, ‘Do I need to make a sexual decision at the end of this date?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.In 2013 Kania traveled to the National Catholic Singles Conference in Philadelphia.She went for the speakers, the fellowship, and the info on theology of the body, but not necessarily to meet someone, she says. No matter what, she says, “I pray for myself and for my future spouse as we both are on our path to grow closer to the Lord, and if it is God’s will, we will meet when we are both ready.” Yet for other young adults, dating events geared specifically toward Catholics—or even general Catholic events—are less-than-ideal places to find a mate.
Yet young people of all stripes express frustration with the uncertainty of today’s dating culture.
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.
“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.