Looking for your true love when you’re a person who values a strong sense of spirituality is a difficult task. Dating apps are filled with people looking for…well, less than a life partner. So finding someone that shares your values—for example, someone who practices Catholicism—can take a little more time.
Or maybe you’re the other side of the coin: you’re a person who values science over faith, or you treat your own spirituality or religion as sacred, and you’re wondering if a relationship with someone with conflicting values could work for you. Never fear—we’re here to help you sort through the considerations of dating someone who’s Catholic.
Don’t Paint Every Catholic With A Broad Brush
As with any community, there’s a wide variety of practice and level of devotion among its members. One person’s version of being a devout Catholic may miss another person’s dart board entirely. This is part of why it’s a good idea to be clear what your own beliefs and standards are before dipping your toes into the dating pool.
Many people who grew up in a Catholic household may no longer practice Catholicism, but the cultural aspects of their family’s faith have stayed with them. They may have switched to another Christian denomination. For example, the Episcopal church (known overseas as the Church of England) bears significant overlaps with the Catholic church, but is more relaxed in some of its doctrines Other people who were raised Catholic—or even those who were not raised Catholic, but received education at Catholic schools and universities—choose not to practice religion at all, regardless of what their belief in God may be.
Much like other Christian denominations, there are many people who identify as Catholic, but may only attend services on two major holidays: Christmas and Easter. This doesn’t indicate that their faith is any less strongly held than others, merely that they believe God is in their lives regardless of how often they attend church. This set of beliefs may be a good match for you if you’re interested in the faith, or if you’re Catholic yourself but don’t believe that every aspect of the denomination is right for you.
This “Practicing Catholic” category is indeed a broad one. It’s something that’s up to an individual to self-identify. The “casually Catholic” people mentioned above may consider themselves practicing Catholics. For others, practicing Catholicism may require far more effort and a stronger set of beliefs—and there’s plenty more somewhere in between on the spectrum. Though the Pope is considered the primary living guide of Catholic doctrine, not every Catholic person agrees with the Pope’s decrees and interpretation of Biblical meaning. Some Catholics have embraced some of the current Pope’s more inclusive decrees, others continue to practice the edicts of prior Popes. Really, it will be hard to know what a person believes until you have a deeper conversation about faith.
What Are Interfaith Relationships Like?
Again, if you’re not Catholic but you’re considering dating someone who is, you may wonder what to expect. Dating someone who’s culturally Catholic may not have any impact on your dating interactions. It may only come up as you get to know each other, chatting about childhood.
Practicing Catholics may have different standards. Some—but remember, not all—Catholics may have specific expectations for their potential partners. Some Catholics who are online dating may hold off on being physically intimate until they are committed, whether that means intending to marry or waiting until marriage.
Regardless of their own level of religious devotion, some people may expect a person to convert to Catholicism before committing or marrying. While having any discussion of commitment too quickly can be a death sentence for any relationship, you should know yourself well enough to know if this is something you’d consider before things get too serious.
Again, you may not have to consider this too quickly if at all, but if you want children, think about if you’re willing to raise your children in the Catholic faith. Regardless of how devout your partner is, many people see raising their children in the church as vital.
You may want your potential children to have exposure to a variety of faiths, or to wait until your children ask questions about religion before pointing them down specific faith-based paths. If you practice a different faith, consider raising your children in both of your faiths. If that’s something you’d like to do, make sure your partner is on board before you have children.
There are also faith-based considerations that may come into play if you date someone who’s Catholic. Again, beliefs run the gamut, but some Catholics hold strong beliefs around moral and ethical concerns that find their way into politics and even daily life. Figure out if you and a potential partner could clash on these issues before committing.
How to Meet Single Catholics
You may be wondering how to meet single Catholics outside of church services. While it may seem obvious, online dating is the way to go. There are several dating apps that cater Catholics, but just like Jewish dating service J-Date, they’re not exclusively for Catholics. Catholic dating sites will help make it easier to find single Catholics to date, and may help you find people on the same moral and political page more easily.
That said, nearly every online dating app has an option to filter by religion. Tick the “Catholic” box and start searching! Though it can be a premium option, many sites will give you the option of assigning religion as a dealbreaker status—that is, they know you won’t consider dating a non-Catholic, so it will filter all non-Catholics out of your search results. Again, you’ll be casting a wider net and therefore you’ll have to do a little more filtering than a Catholic-focused dating site would require, but it’s still a viable option.
Still feeling like you need an assist? You may want to check out our guide to the best dating apps for Catholics.