Navigating the Eviscerated Dating Landscape

Navigating the Eviscerated Dating Landscape


Dating has never been easy, but in today’s world it is a crazy endeavour.

Once upon a time you could assume certain things when meeting up with someone for a date. You could assume that the other person had “honourable intentions.” You could assume that they were dating with the intent to find Mr. or Miss Right, and to marry in the not-too-distant future.

You could assume gentlemanly and ladylike behaviour. You would never assume the expectation of sex on a first date.

But today’s dating world is a weird, disturbing place.

If you need proof, a recent Vanity Fair article has garnered a lot of attention. Tinder and the Dawn of the "Dating Apocalypse" examines the use of modern dating apps like Tinder and Hinge, and how young men and women are using them to arrange sexual encounters without having even met each other.

One fellow the author speaks with relates that he has had sex with 5 different women in the past 8 days. He explains the math of sleeping with 100 girls in a year, something completely achievable with mobile dating.

Mobile dating went mainstream about five years ago; by 2012 it was overtaking online dating. In February, one study reported there were nearly 100 million people—perhaps 50 million on Tinder alone—using their phones as a sort of all-day, every-day, handheld singles club, where they might find a sex partner as easily as they’d find a cheap flight to Florida. “It’s like ordering Seamless,” says Dan, the investment banker, referring to the online food-delivery service. “But you’re ordering a person.”

You're ordering a person. What a haunting, dehumanizing thought.  

In St. John Paul II’s thought the opposite of loving someone is not to hate them, but to use them. In Love and Responsibility he wrote:

"Anyone who treats a person as the means to an end does violence to the very essence of the other."

So while some are probably using these apps to try and find someone to love, many others are trying to do the exact opposite.


And these apps have simply streamlined something that was already present in the culture. So even if you meet someone at a coffee shop or bookstore, you still may come up against the same intentions held by the guys and girls in the Vanity Fair article.

So what to do?

Well I don’t recommend abandoning dating by any means. I’ve recommended the opposite, actually, and I still think it is a good policy to ask people out.

I also think that today it makes a lot of sense to join Catholic dating sites. If you are looking for someone holding values that are no longer mainstream, you need to be intentional with the search. I know great couples who met this way. I was just at a wedding for one of them.

But while it’s becoming more and more common to hear, “We met online,” it is as common to hear adults of an older generation say

“We met at a church dance.”

It may sound amazing, but people used to meet at church! Church used to be a hub of social activity. It wasn’t just the place you went for 45 minutes to an hour once a week; it was a place where relationships that matter happened.

This is one of the challenges we face as a Church- making it relevant to people’s social lives again. Particularly in this case, making it relevant and inviting to young adults.

I know many married couples who met through the campus ministry at their university. These are hubs of social life that are like an oasis on campus. (I’m speaking from personal experience here.)

Why can’t we coordinate our pastoral ministry to make parishes an oasis for young adults as well? Is this such a radical idea? If not, why isn’t anyone doing it?

The new evangelization needs strong relationships and strong families, and this includes making good matches happen. The evangelization of society necessitates the renewal of parishes, and this includes making them an attractive place to young adults.

Let’s pull together and make this happen.

Young people today, date. Ask people out, but also realize that you may have to be more intentional about dating and utilize new means of meeting the right one.

You also have to contribute to making your parish a better place to be, whether it’s helping with a dance, or some other activity that can bring young people together.

Either that or we’re starting a Canadian Catholic dating app...

Question: How are you navigating the modern dating landscape? What are your challenges or recommendations? 

You may also enjoy other dating articles here.

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