What a bummer. When you think you’ve found the one because they check everything off your list, yet the most important variable of all (your heart) doesn’t seem to think so. Yea, that was me… and upon realizing my situation, it dawned on me that a lot of good Catholic women are out there too, rationalizing their way into marriage.
Typically, when a young woman is warned against settling, it’s usually for the "bad boys" out there who are only interested in wasting your time and using you. As a Chastity speaker, I knew what all of the “red flags” in a bad relationship were. However, I didn’t really know how to discern a good relationship. This led to me making the decision to enter into a relationship predominantly based on my reason.
You would think that if you found a good solid Catholic man then that's it, look no more because he must be it, right? Not always. I felt as though I was one of those rare cases… I mean, here I was in a very healthy relationship with a man who knew what he wanted in life, was intentional about pursuing me, attractive, great personality, and God-fearing, yet the desire in my heart to be with him was not present. How does that even make sense?! Well, it doesn’t. But the truth is that there was a great lack of joy and much anxiety about the future with him. I felt like there was something wrong with me. The thoughts that kept coming to mind were “you shouldn’t listen to your heart anyways because it's deceiving” “but he has everything else on the list” “you’ll never find anyone better than this” “what will people say” “you will be a disappointment” “so what if you don’t have joy, you can just offer it up.”
Often times, many women become too afraid to let their significant other know how they are feeling. They think that they are already in too deep because maybe they have a lot of time together or they are already engaged! But the present is the best time to be honest about what is going on in our hearts. So, yes, it is possible to not be in love with someone even though they have everything on your list... and no, there is nothing wrong with you if you feel this way.
My spiritual director shed some light on the subject, saying, “If you rationalize your way to marriage, the enemy will take that and throw it in your face for the rest of your marriage and it can even result in infidelity from your part” -ouch. The last thing we want to do is set ourselves up for such a tragedy, which can easily be avoided altogether if we would just be honest with our hearts! We need to be aware that love is something that the heart experiences and our reason confirms! The heart and mind work together. One is not better than the other, so we must be careful to not go only one way with it. If we only listen to our hearts or only listen to our reason, then we are not able to experience the fullness of love.
I must admit though, the temptation to stay with the person is very real because you get comfortable and maybe you don’t want to cause hurt. The real hurt would be to stay even while knowing that you are not head over heels for them or that you don’t feel the same way that they do for you. Honesty and communication need to play a big role because another person’s feelings are on the line. Speaking to trusted friends, family and spiritual directors are all key in discerning relationships. You will know you are making an informed and rational decision, not just based on random thoughts or vacillating feelings.
Remember, always place and uphold the dignity of the other person. If true and genuine appreciation for the person is there, then you will do what is best for them. Ask yourself, what does this person deserve? What is objectively the right thing to do in your situation? It sucks and it hurts, even if you're the one to call it off, because the truth is that when a relationship ends, it feels a bit like a funeral. You're putting to death all of the dreams, hopes and plans that you had made with someone and you have to be able to mourn that loss. Yet, all things work together for our good, and how glad we will be that we didn’t settle.
So even though my seemingly Mr. Right turned out to be my Mr. Almost, that is okay. I trust that both my heart and my reason have led me to make the right decision. We have to be open enough in relationships to know that sometimes it won’t work out no matter how perfect things appear to be. It’s all a part of the journey of finding the one whom your heart won’t question but will only make it resound with a loud and undoubtable, yes.
Chelsea Rojas is a NYC girl who enjoys going on adventures far away from the city. She has shared TOB teachings for over 6 years with Corazon Puro. While she is currently studying to be a Speech-Language Pathologist, she enjoys trying new things, being overly-competitive in all the games, educating others on health and wellness @selfcaresoulcare, and smiling at strangers on the street.
Image by: [Marisel Rodriguez https://www.flickr.com/photos/mariselrod/]