Busted Halo

Most dating and relationships books, columns and shows won’t go near issues of faith. Author, professor and speaker Dr. Christine B. Whelan assumes faith has some role, and tackles even the toughest questions.

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July 2nd, 2007
Are men inferior to women?

As our June 16 wedding day approached, my fiancé got a lot of advice from married coworkers and friends about how to navigate his future relationship. It boiled down to two similar messages: “Do whatever she says” and “She’s always right.”
He smiled and nodded at these bits of “wisdom” but with a few weeks to go before we took our vows, he told me he was getting a little concerned. Was I going to change into some sort of bossy she-monster after our wedding day? Was he signing up for a life-sentence of being wrong and apologizing?
It’s the dead-man-walking trope that is so common in our modern discourse about relationships: Once a man gets married, he’s…

June 4th, 2007
The National Catholic Singles Conference

In just a few weeks, more than 500 Catholic singles will head to San Diego, California for a weekend of panel discussions, socializing and prayer about the vocation of singles and the search for a perfect match.
The National Catholic Singles Conference was founded in 2005 by Anastasia Northrop. There have been conferences in Denver, Chicago and now San Diego, and because of its popularity, there are plans for east, west and central U.S. conferences in coming years.
What happens at a single’s conference and why is it so popular? According to one of this year’s conference organizers, Michele Fleming, director of the Office for Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Diego, it’s an opportunity…

May 21st, 2007
What makes a date? What makes it great?

According to our recent BustedHalo survey, respondents said they went on their first date, on average, at age 16. But what if you’re in your college years and beyond and haven’t had a meaningful relationship experience? You’re worried that you don’t know the “rules” or that you’ll make a rookie mistake.
Often it’s the simple things that trip us up in the world of love and dating, especially for young adults who get into the dating game a bit later. Here are some basics – and no matter how old you are, or how many dates you’ve had, it never hurts to remember where things begin:
What Counts As A Date?
This seems like a simple question, but it’s one…

May 7th, 2007
Do you lie about what you do on a first date?

Nina, a 27-year-old anesthesiology resident in New York City, met a man at a bar recently. After some flirtatious small-talk, he asked her what she did for work. “I told him I was a health professional, and he assumed I was a nurse. It’s so smooth when I tell guys that I’m a nurse. They smile and that’s the end of it,” she said. “And when I tell them I’m doing anesthesiology, they say, ‘Why aren’t you in pediatrics? Don’t you like kids?’”
Mark, a 32-year-old investment banker, said he is hesitant to tell women he first meets about his job. “I feel like they light up with dollar-signs in their eyes. I want to know that they are interested…

April 23rd, 2007
A Catholic engaged encounter weekend

If I could offer one piece of advice to a Catholic couple preparing for marriage it would be this: Sign up for a Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend right now.
Engaged Encounter is an intense weekend where you and your fiancé have the opportunity to question, examine and deepen your relationship with each other and with God. If a successful marriage is built on communication, the experience of Engaged Encounter weekend will be the cornerstone.
You think you know everything about the one you love? This weekend will take you to a whole new level. The workshop is divided into sections— Openness in Communication, Signs of a Closed Relationship, Decisions in Marriage, Married Sexual Intimacy and Forgiveness…

April 10th, 2007
Kiss and Run: An interview with the author of a new book on commitment-phobic women

We’ve all heard about men who are “afraid of commitment.” Self-help books warn women away from these men, saying that these guys will break a girl’s heart. But women are often terrified of commitment, too.
Do you find fault in everyone you date? Do you always think you can do better? Do you avoid relationships altogether because you’ve been hurt in the past? In her new book, Kiss and Run: The Single, Picky, and Indecisive Girl’s Guide to Overcoming Her Fear of Commitment, Elina Furman tackles this issue head-on.
Ladies, are you afraid of commitment? Guys, are you dating a commitment-phobe?

In this column, I write a lot about the challenges and benefits of relationships,…

March 26th, 2007
It's not just another four letter word

Five weeks ago I slipped and fell on the ice on my way home from the gym, fracturing my arm bone straight across the top, right at the shoulder. Your shoulder is connected to your chest, back and neck—a central point that controls the whole upper body—so for weeks, I couldn’t open the cereal box or a bottle of water or the very-necessary Tylenol. My fiancé, Peter, had to do just about everything for me: He was getting some of the “in sickness” parts of our wedding vows a bit sooner than he’d expected.
In the mornings, he’d come over to help me get my day started. At night, he’d cut my dinner up into bite-sized pieces. Mostly, he forced me to slow down by renting…

February 14th, 2007
Cupid takes aim for later marriage

When I was 16, I memorized the sheet music to Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” and gave my crush a Valentine’s Day concert. At 23, I baked heart-shaped brownies for my man of the moment—which he enjoyed, but asked why they were shaped funny.
Otherwise, I’ve spent most Feb. 14s by myself. It doesn’t feel terrific. And I know on that score, I am not alone.
But those of you who are moping around this Valentine’s Day, jealously eyeing happy couples, should relax. The sappy pink-and-red hearts in all the drug store windows may make you lose hope that you’ll ever find a partner, but the facts tell a different story: Cupid is still alive and well, no matter…

February 5th, 2007
When the one you love doesn't feel the same

It’s the subject of great literature from Don Quixote to The Great Gatsby. It’s the emotions behind ballads from the Eagles to Coldplay. Unrequited love is a love that isn’t reciprocated—and it’s something that most of us have experienced.
According to a recent BustedHalo online poll, more than 90% of respondents said that they have either had romantic feelings that have gone unreciprocated, or that they have had a friend who has had feelings for them that they did not share. It’s a torturous emotion: You just can’t get the object of your affection and desire to see you in the same way, or you feel deeply guilty about not wanting to be romantically involved with someone…

January 22nd, 2007
What women and men look for in a spouse has changed drastically in the last 60 years

Since the 1930s, researchers have been asking men and women what they want in a spouse. And my, how times have changed. Here’s a round-up of national preferences. Where do you stand?
What Men Want
While today’s young man ranks love and attraction as most important, a few generations ago it didn’t even make the top three. A dependable, sweet lady who had skills in the kitchen was the prized catch in the 1930s; these days, guys are looking for brains, beauty—and a sizeable paycheck seems to sweeten the deal.
Then…
Men who were in their 20s in the 1930s—the grandfathers or great-grandfathers of today’s young-adults—reported that, first and foremost, they were…

January 8th, 2007
10 New Years Tips for Meeting that Special Someone in 2007

You’ve made your New Year’s Resolution list. Perhaps you’ve resolved to go to the gym more often or to call your parents and grandparents regularly. Maybe you’ve decided this is the year that you are going to switch jobs or apply to grad school. We all want to improve something about ourselves, and we love the chance to start afresh to make it happen. But as I’ve spoken with young-adults about their New Year’s Resolutions list, I noticed something interesting:
Very few of us will say explicitly that we hope this is the year that we meet our life partners, that this is the year that God brings that special person into our lives. Yet to meet the right person and begin to build a life…

December 18th, 2006
Home for the Holidays... Seven Survival Tips for Couples

“Hi, I’m Christine,” I said, nervously announcing the obvious as I stepped into my fiancé’s aunt’s living room for Thanksgiving last month. Peter and I had gotten engaged over the summer and I was on center stage in this first meeting with his aunts, uncles and cousins. Was I dressed correctly? Should I hug or shake hands? Were there topics I shouldn’t talk about? Would they like me?
Joining to your significant other’s family can be fraught with all sorts of dramas. Here are some tips that I’ve compiled through my research and interviews—use it as a guide to navigating the pitfalls of the “home for the holidays” season.
1. Will you…

December 4th, 2006
The Bad News About Unwed Mothers

Keisha Castle-Hughes, the 16-year-old unmarried actress who plays the Virgin Mary in the new movie, The Nativity Story, is pregnant by her 19-year-old boyfriend. Last week CNN could talk about nothing else: Amazing the coincidence, the announcers said, of this woman getting pregnant when she was playing the role of the most famous unmarried mother in history. And would you believe, the commentators crooned, her boyfriend is even a carpenter, just like Joseph.
Listen. It takes a lot of anti-Catholic sentiment to rile me these days, but after two days of hearing about the “miracle” and “wondrous news” of this young actress’s pregnancy while playing the role of the Blessed Virgin;…

November 8th, 2006
Pure Sex, Pure Love

I’ve been really busy recently. I’ve been dashing into church 10 minutes late because I had to send “just one more email.” During Mass, I’ve been thinking about work rather than paying attention to the homilies. And back home in the evenings, I haven’t been writing in my journal—my most precious form of prayer—because I’m working up until the last possible moment when I have to finally go to sleep.
With good things happening in my career and personal life, this is one of the most exciting and successful times I’ve ever experienced. Yet I feel very far away from God.
Do prayer, meditation and conversation with God fall by the wayside as we go-go-go…

October 24th, 2006
Slicing the pie too thin?: How important is shared faith for high-achievers searching for love?

Shiena is an East Indian anesthesiology resident in New York City. Her parents want her to marry an Indian man for cultural and religious reasons. Instead, she’s been dating an Italian Catholic bodybuilder for the last two years. But since he’s not Hindu, she hasn’t yet told her parents about the relationship, even though the pair is practically inseparable. “Every slice narrows the pie. Education, race, religion—it’s a small pool,” she said.
For SWANS (Strong Women Achievers, No Spouse) finding a partner who shares their religious tradition sometimes seems like an unnecessary burden. There are so many other qualities to match up, successful men and women…

September 25th, 2006
Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women

Note to BustedHalo readers from Christine:
In February 2005 I wrote an article for BustedHalo under the title, “Overqualified for Love?” where I asked readers to share their thoughts on a pressing question for young-adults: Are smart, successful women at a disadvantage when looking for a spouse?

I wrote the article because I was concerned—both personally and professionally. I’d just finished my Ph.D., I was single, and I’d been reading about two studies that had been getting a lot of attention in the media, online and among my friends:
A University of Michigan study reported that college-educated men would prefer to marry a woman whom they considered subordinate—for…

August 28th, 2006
Bridezilla is Born : How fine china and fluffy towels turned me into a monster

Among the first pieces of advice for the newly engaged couple is to set up a wedding registry as soon as possible. If you don’t, you’ll get six toasters and some terrible ceramic statuettes, the guidebooks warn. There are a lot of decisions to be made—and all the gender-neutral terminology in the world can’t hide the fact that this is clearly intended to be woman’s work. Some stores (like Bloomingdale’s) are honest: They call it the Bridal Registry. It’s shopping, it’s girly, and while the man can hold the official Bridal Registry bar code zapper gun, it’s the woman who is supposed to make the big decisions.
If you think “big decisions” should…

August 4th, 2006
Do's and Don'ts: How to Avoid Jealousy in your "Opposite Sex" Friendships

Perhaps it was because I went to an all girls’ school, but when I got to college, most of my closest friends were guys. I’ve got great photos of me being held up by six boys from our school newspaper and of formals and parties with me as the only woman among a sea of tuxedos. Yet as we’ve gotten older, our friendships have changed. We’re less likely to hang out a deux; we’re more likely to turn events into double dates or group parties. There’s a fine line that men and women tread when they want to preserve opposite-sex friendships-and keep significant other’s from getting jealous.
According to our recent survey, 79% of BustedHalo respondents said they have gotten jealous…

July 30th, 2006
Can a guy and a girl be 'just friends'?

Opposite-sex friendships are great, and can be completely uncomplicated. Or they can get you into a whole heap of trouble.
Sometimes a movie hits a chord in the collective conscience of a generation: The 1989 movie When Harry Met Sally did just that.
Harry: You realize of course that we could never be friends.
Sally: Why not?
Harry: What I’m saying is – and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form – is that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.
Sally: That’s not true. I have a number of men friends and there is no sex involved.
Harry: No you don’t.
Sally: Yes I do…
Harry: You only think you do.
As young adults attend co-ed colleges and…

July 15th, 2006
The Handbag Problem A.K.A. Advice on How To Be a Great "Date"

John was attending a work cocktail party with his girlfriend Angie when they had a fight. Angie attends receptions for her job all the time, but this was the first time she’d been to a business function of John’s. He introduced her to his colleagues as “my date” or “my girlfriend”—but she felt like people were looking right past her. “I was a decorative accessory or an unnecessary appendage,” she said.
After a few drinks to compensate for the awkwardness, she started to introduce herself to people as “John’s handbag”—the accessory. People laughed nervously. By the third time she’d told one of John’s colleagues…

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