Finding My Tribe

After two years of being separated and going through the divorce and annulment of an eight-year marriage, I find myself really enjoying all of my free time, uninterrupted thoughts, and ease of living, but I also find myself wanting to be part of some sort of tribe or faith-based community.

As a 40-something single Catholic man, I appreciated this post by the Boston Globe:

The biggest threat facing middle-age men isn’t smoking or obesity. It’s loneliness.

After two years of being separated (somewhat amicably) and going through the divorce and annulment of an eight-year marriage, I find myself really enjoying all of my free time, uninterrupted thoughts, and ease of living, but I also find myself wanting to be part of some sort of tribe or faith-based community.

During this time, when the thought of committing myself to someone else entered my mind and heart, I only had one real desire and that was to meet an educated and sweet Catholic woman with whom to share and grow in my faith.

I tried online dating, and though I did meet a few compatible and attractive women who lived far away, the search for someone I could see more than once a month proved to be unfruitful. There’s something really lacking in that whole process too that I can’t exactly explain.

There are very few Church-sponsored activities for single people past the age of 40.  I guess they figure that everyone by that age should be able to manage on his or her own.  Since divorce and annulment are considered a rare exception, perhaps parishes don’t want to draw attention to the reality that the pre-canaan guidance before marriages is often weak and some marriages are not valid from the start.

I went to some events that were geared for young adults.  I met some very lovely 20 and 30-something Catholic women, but many of them were way too young and I probably seemed like some really old guy (even though I still get carded sometimes).  It’s possible that a decade or two between couples could work, but it is harder to find two people who are evenly yoked with that much of an age difference.

Once you start dating 40 and 50 year-olds, you are getting into the grandmother territory, which I suppose is the natural course of things, but it takes some time getting used to, especially for someone like me who never has had children of his own.  I do appreciate the maturity and the common cultural references we share.  Of course, both men and women are a little set in their ways by this time, and there are many more concessions that have to be made regarding personal and financial habits and the definition of a “good life.”

All Catholic single men, regardless of age, are looking for that balance in a woman of serious faith and lightheartedness.  Often you meet someone who loves the Lord, but is way too over-scrupulous.  On the flip side, you meet happy-go-lucky Catholic women who might be fun to spend time with but have very little concern about what the Church actually teaches.  I’ve been out with non-Catholics, but I my faith is such a big part of my life that I don’t think it would ever get past the friend zone.

I have approached some men’s religious communities, and I think that might be where God is calling me to use my talents and to deepen my relationship with Him.  The reason I wrote this is because I think Catholic singles and Catholic dating for people past the age of “young” adults is a topic that needs to be addressed.